Andrew Shahriari earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Kent State University in 2001. He has published three books, Khon Muang Music and Dance Traditions of North Thailand, by White Lotus Co., Ltd., a Bangkok press, and World Music: A Global Journey (co-authored with Kent State Professor Emeritus, Terry E. Miller), published by Routledge, an American press, as well as Popular World Music, also by Routledge. His fieldwork experiences have taken him thus far to Thailand, China, Europe, Mexico, and many regions of the United States.
Dr. Shahriari is currently an Associate Professor at Kent State and Coordinator of Online Programs for Music, as well as Coordinator of Ethnomusicology.
The phin pia is a chest-resonated stick zither associated with the northern region of Thailand and primarily found in the cities of Chiang Mai and Lampang. After a brief introduction to the construction, performance techniques, and history of the instrument, discussion will center on the shifting function of the phin pia in Thailand from the 1990s to present day. The transition from local courting instrument to musical icon of Lanna-Thai identity is today manifested in a variety of public contexts, particularly in relation to tourism, government-sponsored awards and educational programs, social media, and mass media outlets.
Chiang Mai’s recent consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage site exemplifies the increased attention drawn to the region’s history and cultural offerings, particularly in relation to issues of representation and authenticity. Concerns related to transmission and pedagogy of phin pia performance will be examined to highlight the distinctive features of the instrument and its historical and contemporary significance to Thai musical history. Examples of modern compositions and developing pedagogical practices will be featured to examine globalization processes that encourage a growing repertoire for the phin pia and its burgeoning international audience of enthusiasts.